In the days leading up to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, we will profile several of the players committed to play in the sixth annual showcase. Today, we feature Memphis defensive back Arthur Maulet.
It took a lot of hard work and dedication for Arthur Maulet to reach the heights of his career. Despite starting four years as a defensive back in high school, he would have to take his talents to the JUCO circuit, playing his freshman and sophomore years at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. He put up big numbers there, racking up five interceptions in his second season, including one for a score. And when he couldn’t come down with a turnover, he was often able to bat the ball away, leading the NJCAA in passes broken up. With his stellar resume, it was assured that D-1 programs would come calling … and when Memphis rang, Maulet heeded their request and put on the gray and blue.
It didn’t take long for Maulet to get used to life in the AAC. In his first game against Southeast Missouri State, he registered three tackles and knocked a pass away in what was a relatively easy matchup for the Tigers. In fact, in his first three games, Maulet displayed his physicality by recording at least three solo tackles in each contest, and also breaking up two key passes in a narrow 44-41 victory over Bowling Green.
His first real test came against the high-powered offense of Cincinnati, and for much of the game, the Bearcats avoided Maulet. But that was only after Maulet came away with an interception on the fourth drive of the game and took it to the house to tie the game up. Those seven points would end up being the difference as Memphis managed to mount a furious comeback to win, 53-46.
Maulet’s second pick would come just a few weeks later when then-No. 13 Ole Miss strolled into town, boasting an aerial attack that would make most any defensive back nervous. But not Maulet. He threw his body around all over the field, notching six solo tackles (a season-high) and picking off the Rebels in the final seconds to seal a 37-24 victory. While Maulet would continue his high level of play, the Tigers could not sustain their high level of success, as they were upset by Navy and beaten by Houston in back-to-back weeks. Maulet refused to quit, however, as he had a pass broken up and six total tackles against Houston in a tightly contested loss, and would finish with seven passes broken up on the season.
The lockdown defensive back started off his final season with a bang. In the opener against Southeast Missouri State, he had three passes broken up and snagged another interception. Teams quickly realized that the best way to neutralize Maulet’s speed and athleticism was simply not to throw the ball near him at all.
While they handled their first three games pretty handily, the Tigers faltered against Ole Miss in the rematch, though not for lack of trying. Maulet registered another pick against the Rebels, five tackles, and even chipped in on offense by reeling in a 12-yard reception. He and the rest of the Tigers would bounce back by posting successive victories over No. 23 Temple and Tulane, and Maulet’s aggression showed with his seven tackles from all over the field.
By then, it was evident that Maulet’s blend of speed and strength would make him an asset near the line of scrimmage, and so the Tigers slowly but surely called up more plays that would have him closer to the line. The result? Against Tulsa, Maulet started a streak that would extend to the end of the season where he would register at least half a tackle for a loss. The Tigers’s beatdown of SMU saw Maulet get his first-ever sack, and his tackle totals increased along the way.
He would finish the year by registering at least six tackles in each of his final eight games, and he saved his two most impressive efforts for last. Memphis’s 48-44 win over Houston was a by-product of some incredibly physical defense, and Maulet did his part with six total tackles, half a sack, and an impressive four passes broken up. Then, in their bowl game against the explosive Hilltoppers from Western Kentucky, Maulet racked up three sacks and 11 tackles, including 3.5 for loss.
Maulet may have been passed over early in his career, but he definitely made his mark in Memphis. Now, quarterbacks are leery to pass in his direction, and when the ball carrier did find his way to Maulet’s area, a big hit was sure to follow. Not many corners are as well known for both their coverage skills and their ability to wrap up and deliver a crucial blow, but for Maulet, it was just one more facet that made him so great for the Tigers.
– David Chough
NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Analyst